Qu Family Compound

courtyard of the compoundBeing built during the reign of Qianlong during the Qing Dynasty, the Qu Family Compound has history dating back over 300 years and covers an area of over 5300 square meters. This archaic compound is very unusual in having five layers of courtyard, and the entire compound has 8 large courtyards, 19 smaller courtyards, and 240 rooms overall.

The Qu family was a very outstanding representative of the Shanxi merchant, and their estate used to occupy most of the eastern half of Qi County. Overall, they owned 10 compounds containing over 1000 rooms. During the Sino-Japanese War, the Japanese occupied the compound, and the family had to temporarily relocate their head office to Chengdu. A Japanese observation post built above the roof of one of the buildings in the complex still remains. A few blocks away from the main compound are the Changyuchuan Teahouse, which also belonged to the Qu family.

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The main compound resembles a fortress from the outside, with 10-meter high walls, a tall gate, and an observation pavilion looking out over the front part of the compound. Once you progresses through the compound one will find that each new door is higher than the former and each courtyard is wider than the last. This is because there is a saying that exceptional people come forth by walking from the low to the high and from the narrow to the wide. This design shows the good wishes of the Qu family to their later generations that they would be richer and get higher official titles in government. There are some carved beasts crouching with their open mouths on their roofs. This is because the Qu family members are both businessmen and officials who got salaries from the government. The open-mouthed beasts symbolized that they were fed by the government. Being businessmen however, the Qu family strongly believed that all one's troubles were caused by his tongue. So they wrote "Be Cautious of Your Tongue" on their buildings. This was to make sure their later generations treasured the rule of speaking less but working more

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